I am delighted to share a guest post by author Indie Gantz, who shares thoughts on my favorite genres.
Sci-Fantasy: A Playground of Possibilities
Writing sci-fantasy is like being a child on a brand new playground. Even if we’re familiar with the equipment, there’s always something novel to do. When a writer is creating a brand new world, it’s very similar. There’s only so much that can be invented or reinvented; we must take what’s been built before and elevate it. For sci-fantasy, that usually means investing a lot of time and detail in world building and technology. Whether it be post apocalypse, space travel, magicians, or aliens, a reader expects sci-fantasy novels to introduce them to new worlds.
While it’s important that a reader of science fiction or fantasy can leave their life behind for a little while, and settle into one so fantastic it defies the laws of nature, it’s not the only attractive aspect of these types of novels. When building new worlds, it’s not just the physical word that needs development. It’s the ideas too.
Why stop at flying and teleportation? That’s like riding the twisty slide the same way every time. It’s more fun than not sliding at all, but it gets a little stale. The fun of writing sci-fantasy is that writers get to play with the entire world. There are no rules. This mean writers of sci-fantasy can also play with societal norms and philosophies. We can challenge the aspects of our current society we feel need work or highlight truly terrible aspects we wish never existed. Sci-fantasy novels can push boundaries in ways other genres cannot, because they’re already established as extraordinary examples of life.
In the reception of Passage, the first book in the Akasha series, I was stunned to find so many questions pertaining to why Charlie and Tirigan, the twin protagonists, often call their parents by their first names. It’s a natural cultural shift from my perspective, seeing as how they are nearly immortal aliens and live long enough to eventually stand alongside their parents, rather than constantly trying to keep up. The Anunnkai calling their parents by their first name also shifts the human authoritarian instinct, as it pertains to parent and child, which was important to distinguish as the Anunnaki do not have this overt power dynamic. This tiny change was a difficult thing for many readers to overcome. Which begs the question, why? We can accept magic and aliens, but calling parents by their first name is too far?
This is just one small example of how writers of sci-fantasy can challenge reader’s perceptions of their own worlds. There are plenty of other socially taboo topics that can be explored in sci-fantasy. It can be as innocuous as a strong theme of individualism, or as socially complex and sensitive as polyamory. Sci-Fantasy is the perfect genre to explore that which we might be afraid to otherwise. Like a child on a brand new playground, the possibilities are endless.
In Kindred we find the Damuzi twins settling into their new home with Kori Lark’s family. Desperate to keep the dangerous truth of their identity a secret, Charlie and Tirigan educate themselves on everything that was kept from them, while delving deeper into their mother’s past.
In the future, Tirigan is dealing with the complicated emotions that overwhelm him after the events of Passage. In an attempt to control the situation, Tirigan turns inward and cuts himself off from those who need him most.
By the time Charlie and Tirigan’s timeline’s merge, a burning mystery is solved, and more than one relationship begins to unravel.
Friendship. Trust. Dependency. Lies.
The Damuzi twin’s story continues.
“Sorry for taking over your room,” I tell him, walking until the hallway ends in a slatted wooden door. I push it open as Oleander sighs dramatically behind me.
“Yes. I am incredibly put out. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Even though Oleander laughs, a jolt of guilt runs through me. He must see my regret in the sudden tension of my shoulders, because the Gyan’s laugh immediately disappears.
“I’m kidding, of course.” He places a hand on my shoulder, essentially swallowing it whole and forcing me to look up at him. “I’m thrilled to give you my room, Charlie. Over the moon about it. Really! Are you in the market for a new limb, by chance? Because I’ve got a couple with your name on them.”
“My name? Really?” I tease, challenge in my eyes despite the kindness in his.
“Don’t believe me?” Oleander’s brow’s raises comically. “Have a look, yourself.”
The tall Gyan raises his arms out as much as he can in the small hallway, exposing his forearms. There, written in long, flourishing strokes, is my name.
“How?” The question escapes before I can think better of it. Oleander searches my baffled expression for what feels like several minutes. I haven’t a clue what he finds there, but whatever it is makes him smile ruefully.
“You really don’t know what you’re capable of. Do you?”
“I… I guess not. No,” I respond quietly. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, Charlie.” Oleander shakes his head. “You are who you are.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Indie Gantz grew up in Northern Virginia and received her Psychology degree at George Mason University. Despite her passion and curiosity for the human mind, Indie left her chosen field of study to finally give voice to the many imagined minds she has created.
Indie lives with her family in North Carolina. She spends her days drinking tea and clacking keys.
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